A survey of Hong Kong IT leaders carried out for Robert Half, has found that more than nine in 10 (93 per cent) believe the recently proposed Talent List initiative in the 2018-19 Budget will have a positive impact on Hong Kong’s IT employment market. The government released their first ‘Talent List’ on August 28 as well as the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS) aimed at easing the burden of finding appropriately skilled people.
The Talent List initiative, designed to attract foreign labour and ease the city’s talent shortage, is being welcomed by Hong Kong CIOs as over half (52 per cent) say it will relieve the IT skills shortage, while 40 per cent are expecting a greater influx of foreign IT candidates and 35 per cent say the demand for international IT professionals will increase. Other expected benefits include increased productivity (36 per cent) and a stronger image for Hong Kong as an attractive place to work (17 per cent). Only seven per cent of CIOs believe the Talent List initiative will not impact the IT employment market.
The survey of 75 Hong Kong CIOs reveals many companies are facing increasing pressure to hire IT talent on the pathway to growth. More than nine in 10 (92 per cent) CIOs say it is challenging to source qualified IT professionals, while 88 per cent say it is also challenging to attract them once found.
“While the Hong Kong government is dedicated to cultivating high-calibre IT professionals and providing support to the technology sector, new and evolving innovations are outpacing the current local talent pool. As a result, companies are struggling to implement and develop these new technologies, putting Hong Kong at risk of being left behind in the global technology race,” said Adam Johnston, managing director of Robert Half Hong Kong. “With companies expanding into international markets, many of Hong Hong’s IT employers are looking for diverse skillsets, which – combined with a local talent shortage – increases demand for skilled international candidates.
“The government’s recent launches of the Technology Talent Admission Scheme and Talent List are timely solutions to enable companies to hire talented individuals from overseas more easily,” he added. “While further growing and developing local talent is and should be the primary solution to filling crucial skills gaps, international talent can provide a solution for companies who can’t find the talent they need locally.”
IT employers are already receptive to the concept of hiring international talent, with over three-quarters (76 per cent) willing to hire foreign talent. The top reasons for hiring foreign talent include expansion into international markets (53 per cent), access to diverse skillsets of international candidates (46 per cent), a local talent pool not keeping pace with demand (26 per cent), a need for more candidates with language skills (14 per cent) and international employees being less likely to leave the organisation (11 per cent).
With attracting IT professionals identified as a key challenge for Hong Kong employers, the vast majority (98 per cent) of CIOs are already offering or planning to offer incentives in order to entice foreign talent. The top incentives are: lifestyle benefits (46 per cent), family benefits (37 per cent), financial relocation packages (33 per cent), higher salaries and bonuses (26 per cent), as well as housing subsidies (21 per cent).
“While the government’s Technology Talent Admission Scheme and Talent List will help to expand the talent pool, success in securing the best international candidates will only be enjoyed by companies that offer attractive incentives. This means keeping incentives up-to-date and relevant, making sure they are in line with competitor offerings and benchmarking salaries against industry standards,” concluded Johnston.